Welcome to London, Europe’s biggest metropolis.
The capital of Britain - yet London is quite unlike the rest of the country in almost every way.
3. Which means that they speak all sorts of languages.
Fully 22% of Londoners - or almost 2m people - do not speak English as their first language.
9. It is also the only part of Britain where more people get to work by public transport than drive.
Which is why it is slightly odd that national newspapers spend so much time complaining about train ticket prices…
11. But curiously, they actually drink less.
It may not seem it in the pub on a Friday night, but when the ONS asked people whether they had drunk in the previous week, just 51% of Londoners said yes, lower than any other region.
12. Unsurprisingly, they like poncey food more.
Next time you’re in a pop-up restaurant in Peckham ordering a biodynamic wine, think about what you are doing for London’s reputation.
13. Although it probably depends on who you are. London is far less equal than everywhere else in Britain.
In Kensington and Chelsea - the bluest blotch on this map - the average wage is £43,000 per year. In Barking and Dagenham, it is just £27,000.
London has the greatest concentration of the wealthy in Europe. Almost a quarter of the population pay the higher rate of income tax (far more than nationally) while 21% of children inner-London are educated privately. But meanwhile 28% of the population live under the official poverty line.
So why does this all matter?
Well because there’s a big argument about London’s relationship with the rest of Britain. Vince Cable, the business secretary, said recently that London “is becoming a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country” - its success comes at the expense of the rest of Britain.
However others, such Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, say that London isn’t free enough. Last week he told MPs that London is “fiscally infantilised” compared to its real competitors: cities such as New York.
The trouble is, quite probably both are true.
Take the example of The Beatles - one that got Boris into trouble recently. The band of course were Liverpool’s proudest export. But would they have got as far as they did without London - without its huge audience, its record companies, its distributors and its reputation? Probably not.
As they did, every year, 200,000 people move to London from other parts of the country, and 250,000 people move out of London. The city is a sort of processing factory - people move here from all over the country, squash into tiny flats, pay extortionate rents all to improve their careers in a way that they couldn’t at home.
So that’s why London will always be unique.
For all that people worry about the malign influence of London – or alternatively, suggest that the city should be independent - the rest of the country wouldn’t be the same without it. London may feel like another country, but it matters to everyone in Britain. So don’t wall up the M25 just yet.